Tag Archives: finding love

How Much Is Too Much?

 

I met Sheila a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit, I am rather taken by her. She’s funny, fun to be around, smart, and attractive. What’s more, she’s new to town, ready and willing to try new things and go to places she’s not been before.

At this point, I can’t tell whether she sees me as just a friendly tour guide, or something more. I’m pretty cool about things, and either way, I’m happy, but I really want to know at some point. I figure pretty soon I might make some subtle advances and see if they’re returned, and that’s where the debate comes in. . .

My best female, friend, Brenda advises against this. Her philosophy seems to be to play the aloof card. In fact, with Sheila’s out of town on business and her birthday mere days away, I thought it might be nice to call and sing happy birthday on her answering machine. Is it a little goofy? Yes, but that’s me; that’s who I am. She seems to like me so far . . . right?

Brenda’s response, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO, you can’t do that!!! You’ll immediately place yourself in the friend category . . . Bad idea!!!”

“Well maybe I should just call, then?”, dejected by the strong admonition.

“No don’t call her, “ she nodded, convinced that this, too, was a bad idea.

“What? Am I just supposed to ignore her birthday?”, I replied, shocked at the advice I was hearing.  Brenda didn’t really have an answer for that . . .

I mean, I like this woman. Are we in 4th grade again? What am I supposed to do? Pull her hair? Call her names? I thought we were past all of this stuff as adults, and while I understand that panting like a loyal dog is not a way to win her heart, ignoring her doesn’t seem like a good thing either.

I’m a “do what I say I’m gonna do” kind of guy. If I tell you I will call. I will call. I don’t wait until the last second. If I want to take you out, I won’t wait past Wednesday to set something up. I just don’t see any point in pretending like I don’t care, if I do.

I realize, this philosophy can be taken too far, and may make some women uncomfortable. I know where that point is. I’m not gushing over her. I make eye contact, and get good eye contact in return. I keep plans light, and flexible, but I’m consistently available when I say I will be. If she wants to make plans, and I’m busy, I offer up another time or an alternate plan that works better with my schedule.

At the end of the day however, my heart is on my sleeve, and I believe I’m being told, that’s not a good thing. I think need to get some more clarity on where the line is.

Which brings me to my dilemma, ladies – especially the single ladies: How much aloof, is too much aloof? Do you ever get to a point where you cut him off because he’s too aloof? On the other hand, how much is too much? What are the rules, or are there any rules?

Your input is valuable . . .

 

Incidentally, I texted Sheila on her birthday . . . at the risk of losing my anonymity, it read like this . . .

“May your day be filled with fun.

May your belly be filled with laughs.

And may your mouth be filled with cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

I hope you’re doing something fun!!!”

 

Was it too much?

What is Love? Part 4 – How To Love Women

How to Love Women

This post is specifically for the guys. (Hey, I write for a men’s magazine.)

No matter where you are in your relationship with a woman, here are 4 things you can to do to make her feel éros.

  1. Listen to her
  2. Use touch
  3. Be gentle
  4. Speak with your body

Listen to her.

“I knew that,” you might think. But do you know how to listen to women? First, you have to turn off all your electronics, yes this includes the TV.

It’s pretty widely known that women – even the most logical thinking ones – need to talk about their feelings. Not always, but usually when their feelings get in the way of rationality.

Some women are really upfront about their feelings.

No matter how worked up she might be, do whatever it takes not to react. Because I guarantee that once a woman realizes that you are listening, she will calm down. A quiet response is always better than a loud reaction in these situations.

Some women are used to people reacting to them. They might say something like, “Why aren’t you reacting?” Your response could be, “Because I’m trying to understand exactly what you are trying to say.” Some women are über logical (like myself) and reason out loud trying to figure out their feelings. A logical type tends not to get hyper emotional, but she still needs you to listen.

This is how to listen:

  • Don’t assume to know what she’s saying. Emotions are not easy to express with words. All those chemicals reacting in her brain need help with translation, and that’s where taking time to really understand will help.
  • Use active listening skills.
    • Try to understand. If you need clarification, a good way to start asking for it is with, “Do you feel like…?” Restating in your own words is also helpful.
    • Pay attention to body language. The body says a lot more than words. Use your body language to show you’re listening by leaning closer or facing her.
    • Give feedback, but not advice. Show you understand with eye contact, nodding, and “mm-hmms”. Good feedback reinforces what she says. Let her get the words out even if she sounds irrational. Then, if you must suggest something, ask if you can share it so she doesn’t get immediately defensive.
  • Don’t make it about you. Even if a woman starts blaming you, she might be using you as a scapegoat for the real problem. And if it really is your fault, remember that nobody is perfect and eat some humble pie.

On a deeper level, what makes a good listener is agápe. (See Part 1.) Listening is an action, and it’s louder than words.

Use touch.

First, remember touch is not always related to sex. Second, you can’t just touch a woman without having her trust (unless you want slapped or a lawsuit.) Building that trust for some women takes time and energy. But be an excellent listener and you can build that trust quicker.

Once you have a woman’s trust, her body will be more receptive and that is good for both of you.

Don’t underestimate foreplay. Good foreplay turns women on. There are great books on the topic: the Kama Sutra, books by Lou Paget (my favorite), and another classic: The Joy of Sex. And by all means, flirt. Touch not only with your hands but with your leg under the dinner table or with your lips. Kissing is way of touching.

Be gentle.

To be a real emotional support, use gentleness. You know women don’t want Mr. Fix It showing up when facing delicate issues. Put away the hard hat and be gentle.

Being gentle also applies to your touch. If you think foreplay doesn’t do anything, you probably aren’t gentle enough. Pay attention to her body language, if or when it tells you your touch is too hard. How do you hold an egg? [Your answer here.] Exactly.

Gentleness isn’t called for in every situation. Sometimes women need you to be dominant. Though you can still be gentle while dominant.

Speak with your body.

Did your mom ever hug you? How did it make you feel? Hug your woman. Hold her.

Your face also says and means a lot. If you look intently at her while thinking about how much you care, the care will show. Remember, if you are not thinking about how much you care for her that will also show.

When women feel love…

You know what happens when you and your girl love each other. You build intimacy. Then éros will take hold, and it will all be over for you.

Take an active listening assessment.

Another good article on active listening is at MindTools.com.

What is Love? Part 3 – Where to find it

Where the Heck Is Love?

So, where the heck do you find love? Well, the word “love” was spread out across the field during the Super Bowl halftime show this year. Was it there? Maybe it was at the party you went to. Maybe not.

Of the three ingredients of éros – attraction, readiness, and compatibility – the third is the most difficult to find.

How do you figure out how compatible someone is with you? Live together? Yikes! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Prior knowledge is useful. You know what I mean if the one you want is someone you already know. She might even be someone else’s girlfriend. (Hey, if she’s not married, she’s a prospect. All you have to do is wait for the right moment. Anyway…)

Too often guys make the mistake of getting into a relationship with someone they don’t know at all, as in those cases when meeting a girl at the bar who spends the night, and the next night, and the next. Worse is getting comfortable with that person, getting married, having a kid, and realizing you don’t really like each other. Hey, it happens.

Raise the probability

Having “relationships” with women – not just sex – makes finding compatibility easier. Take the woman virtually everyone has experience with: Mom. Some guys find wives or girlfriends just like their mothers.

Most people, especially guys, probably don’t think about their parents as measuring sticks for finding love. Though that might be helpful, it’s probably a better idea to go by psychological types. (No, that’s not the same as “psycho”.)

It’s far beyond the scope of this article to explain what psychological types are. Besides, I explain it to some degree in the second half of my book, AlphaDog, Get The Bitch You Want (tongue in cheek). So let’s keep this as simple as possible.

Say for example you love football. I mean, you LOVE it. You can describe in detail how the Packers scored the first touchdown and dominated the Superbowl with 11 point leads. (Sorry, Steelers fans.) How do you find a partner in life who can appreciate your love for football? Tough question. But one thing you would want to look out for, if you’re the type of person to recall games in detail, is a certain quality in someone who appreciates details. For example, maybe her eyes light up as she listen to you explain the plays.

Since getting to know every single woman out there is impossible, there are obvious things you can do to raise the probability that a woman you meet is compatible with you, e.g., appreciates your passions.

  1. Be in the right place at the right time
  2. Get friends to help
  3. Use a matchmaker

Be in the right place at the right time.

A lot of couples in love got to know each other at school, working together, or among their circle of friends. It’s no mystery that you can meet the right person at the workplace, or through people you already know.

You can also be smarter about meeting new people.

Carl Jung, the “father” of clinical psychoanalysis, came up with two fundamental ways the human brain works: the way we take in information and the way we make decisions. Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, a mother-daughter team, expanded on Jung’s theories and developed the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), a tool used to figure out what kind of job we should get and how we get along with each other. Alexander Avila has taken the MBTI to a more intimate level explaining how different types hypothetically interact during romance. He offers suggestions in his book, LoveTypes, on where you’re more likely to find your personality match.

Get friends to help.

Countless times, random guys have asked me if I have any single friends. This is great and all, but you think I’d hook up my friends with some guy I don’t know? Ask people you like – who know and like you – if they have single friends they can introduce you to.

Well, some friends might be poor judges, but getting friends to help exponentially raises the probability of finding someone. Works great especially when friends have that sixth sense (or a good working knowledge of personality type theory).

Use a matchmaker

If you’re out of luck on the friends-with-sixth-sense front, you could always hire a matchmaker. Matchmaking has been around for centuries. Hey, it must work.

(And, of course, there’s the Internet.)

It’s Out There

Love might have only been written on the Cowboys Stadium field. But it’s out there. Be smart about where you look.

What is Love? Part 2

What exactly is love?

“Why can’t we just sniff each other like dogs and mate?”

“Why do women make this love thing so complicated?”

For one, the hunt wouldn’t be as interesting if it was too easy, truly. Being human takes work. To deal with the complex matrix that makes the human brain and find lasting love, we can take the word of any religion that tells us exactly what to do. Not.

You could figure it out by trial and error. How exhausting.

Really, you want to be smart about this whole love thing, right? Throughout history, romantic love has played major roles. Antony and Cleopatra, John and Abigail Adams, Bonnie and Clyde, Lucy and Desi, John and Yoko, and some of our parents. Repeat: some.

Making éros happen for the long haul takes 3 things:

  1. attraction
  2. readiness
  3. compatibility

Attraction

This is easy. All you need is a pair eyes. (If you don’t have eyes, sorry.) If every woman in the world took care of herself inside and out, the streets would be an ocean of eye candy. Since not every woman takes care of herself, the number of attractive women is limited. Still, there are plenty of women to light up your love rod. (Of course there’s the not-so-hot woman with personality who you might find is pretty “alright” after getting to know her. But that’s not the point right now.)

You want that attraction to last, of course. Looks don’t last forever, so it also takes associating those initial sparks with the intimacy that develops as a result of bonding. More on that later.

Readiness

Now, if you scoffed at the title of this article, you’re might not be ready to embrace this thing called love. Though you’ve probably been through enough trial and error to realize that it must exist. As tragic as true love ending in death, being ready means being willing to risk impending loss just to enjoy reknowned relationship bliss for even a brief moment on Earth.

Sometimes it takes life changes to realize readiness, such as the birth of a child, or witnessing the least commitment-minded person you know falling in love. Sometimes it takes pressure from family or friends. Sometimes we just grow up. A few are ready long before the rest of us because that’s how they were born.

Being ready for love takes having EQ. That is, emotional intelligence. If you didn’t know, EQ is like IQ, but it regards how one handles his or her emotions. A person with high EQ has the ability to empathize with others and handles heated situations with calm, for example. Not everyone who commits to a relationship has high EQ. But for true love to happen, it’s definitely helpful. True love could happen without high EQ, though that would be an emotional rollercoaster.

Readiness without drama certainly requires at least some emotional intelligence. Even better if it grows. EQ growth happens when working through emotions or painful memories and becoming resolved about them. It might take therapy, serious talks with someone you trust, or plenty of man-cave time.

Compatibility

If readiness isn’t challenging enough, there’s compatibility.

The problem with compatibility is that it’s easy to be deceived into thinking you get along with a woman just because you shared one amazing night or week together. More often than not, real compatibility lacks. It takes life experience, use of logic, or friends showing us how blind we are to see when compatibility is missing.

Sometimes similarities mask incompatibility. Just because you moved to the same neighborhood, worked in the same industry, and like the same music doesn’t make you and the girl you like compatible. The test of compatibility happens among day-to-day redundancies, such as dealing with how bills are paid, or how the house is kept.

Of course, you can’t know if you and a woman are compatible in daily life without becoming roommates. If that situation is out of the question, having friends who know you really well can help. You know, friends with that sixth sense.

Compatibility is unfortunately the one thing that couples absolutely need for true love but far too often miss. How can we be more astute in having compatibility in a relationship? That will be the topic in the next article in this series on love.

Re-boot Your Love Life

There was a time when Valentine’s Day was about celebrating fertility and procreation. Sex, basically. Now? It’s about marketing and giving people an excuse for public displays of affection.

Don’t get me wrong. Love should be celebrated. But it should be celebrated daily whether or not we’re in romantic relationships. For those who are not involved with a significant other, we can use Valentine’s Day as a time marker, since it’s pretty common for people to think about the previous Valentine’s Day.

It’s okay to admit we want companionship. At the same time, we need to find peace with the place where we are. Attitude makes a huge difference not only for our own introspection, but also toward those with whom we interact. We need to make sure we take care of ourselves first so that we can be our best for others. That said, here’s a re-post from TheRugged.com.

Hope For The Future: Making a Plan

The beginning of a new year–needless to say–is a great opportunity to join the masses in defining resolutions and starting over, especially for those of us going through break-ups, loneliness or other sad situations. Life as such can be a daily struggle, but there is a way to deal.

Even the most logical thinkers can have difficulty in finding motivation to press forward when their personal relationships are busted. If you find yourself struggling to be positive, there is no better time than now to have a plan and be proactive about it.

Have a plan

Sadness sucks. It can cause us to think irrationally and do stupid things that we later regret. If it’s really bad, sadness can demotivate or lead to detrimental decisions. This is when having a plan can help.

Like a business plan, which can help a company stay focused on its purpose, a personal plan should be a guide. (Especially during rough moments when making a decision is more challenging.) Here’s what you should plan:

  1. Make time for yourself. Nurture your mind. This is especially important if you come from a dysfunctional family. (You know, having parents, guardians or siblings who either neglected you or physically, verbally, or plain emotionally, beat you down.) Get out of the house and do something you enjoy like attend a live event, get a massage, take a long jog or bike ride. Engage in activities you would do at other times of the year. This time for your mind needs to be distinct, however, from time for your libido. In other words, avoid strip clubs and sex during this time.Why avoid sex? The frontal lobes of our brains are responsible for our ability to reason and for personality, and our temporal lobes account for memories. When we’re sad, the chemicals in the limbic system, located in the middle of our brains, can interfere with the way our brains process thoughts. Likewise, your libido is activated through the limbic system. Though pleasure is nice, it will only distract you from taking care of your mind, a.k.a. your self. So, set aside time to “clear” your head and replenish serotonin levels (the happy brain chemical) so that you can think. If you have sad memories that keep surfacing, then it might be time to confront them. After a funeral, people go through times of grief. This is necessary in order to provide an outlet for sad feelings. If you have sad memories, then grieve. Let it out. Otherwise, they will remain sad memories that get pushed aside by distractions. Then the sadness comes out in other, twisted ways like getting overly reactive about a girl. People let out emotions in different ways, either alone or with a friend, family, or therapist. Whatever way you deal with feelings, aside from avoiding them, do it.
  2. Make time for people. Anyone who spends too much time by himself gets weird. You know what I’m talking about. We are social animals. Our mental and emotional health depends on our relationships with other people. There are different ways of spending time with others. Obviously, there are friends and family, but there’s also being around strangers and meeting new people. Again, get out of the house. Get off the computer, get some fresh air, and go where there are people. It might be a park, a party, a group of people meeting for a common purpose (aka church), a volunteer opportunity, a bar, a neighbor’s house, or a date. Attend events where you can meet and talk to people. Or don’t talk to people if you really don’t want to. Just get out.

The purpose of having a personal plan is to take care of your needs outside of sex. Sex is often a distractor that keeps us from dealing with what we really need to confront. Anyway, once your mind is able to think more rationally, sex is often better. If you’re single, try having a date without making sex a goal. Really. Just see what happens. You might discover something you haven’t noticed before.

Be proactive

What does it mean to be proactive? If you have a plan to spend time by yourself and spend time with other people, you are halfway through proactivity. Now follow through. The time you spend taking care of your mind is valuable and necessary. Without it, life is more awkward. When we don’t spend time to clear our heads, we allow insecurity to make us pawns of irrational behavior.

Once you become more resolved about life, stay proactive. Don’t give up getting out and being around people, and don’t numb your feelings by avoiding them. Acknowledge your feelings, get in touch with them, and decide to nurture yourself in spite of them. (More on this another time.)

If you’re sad because of your romantic life, then become proactive. Do something about it! Maybe you barely make any effort toward romance, e.g., only take a girl out on a date once every few months, or never. Make a plan to meet one new person every week or ask a girl out every week or something like that. If you’re shy, use the Internet. Who cares if a girl might be lying. Just meet her and find something out about her. Don’t have any expectations except that you’re getting to know someone new. You might get something out of the experience that you couldn’t imagine. Just do it.